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‘Hungry’ South Korean student takes banana from Maurizio Cattelan’s art installation from wall and eats it

The artwork, called Comedian, was part of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan’s exhibition WE at Seoul’s Leeum Museum of Art, and consisted of a ripe banana duct-taped to a wall.

Some would say his artwork is good enough to eat – or perhaps this was just a case of forbidden fruit.

But Maurizio Cattelan became the victim of his own artistic greatness over the weekend after a hungry South Korean student ate a banana that was part of one of his art installations.

The artwork, called Comedian, was part of Mr Cattelan’s exhibition WE at Seoul’s Leeum Museum of Art, and consisted of a ripe banana duct-taped to a wall.

Feeling peckish, art student Noh Huyn-soo, from Seoul National University, ripped the banana from the wall upon his visit to the museum, before devouring it as a snack in front of shocked onlookers.

He then taped the peel back onto the wall, with the museum later replacing it with a fresh banana.

The incident was recorded by the student’s friend and lasted more than a minute.

“The student told the museum he ate it because he was hungry,” a museum spokesperson told CNN.

“It happened suddenly, so no special action was taken. The artist (Cattelan) was informed of the incident but he didn’t have any reaction to it,” the museum spokesperson added.

Videos posted online show Mr Noh taking the banana off the wall before shouts of “excuse me” can be heard.

But he chose not to respond – instead deciding to eat the fruity snack.

Mr Noh later revealed he saw Mr Cattelan’s work as a rebellion against a certain authority.

“There could be another rebellion against the rebellion,” he told KBS. “Damaging an artwork could also be seen as an artwork, I thought that would be interesting… Isn’t it taped there to be eaten?”

When informed about the incident, Mr Cattelan said, “No problem at all”.

This isn’t the first time someone has thought Mr Cattelan’s artwork was ripe for picking, with performance artist David Datuana picking the banana on display at the Perrotin Gallery at Art Basel in Miami after the first edition of Comedian sold back in 2019.

Mr Cattelan’s solo exhibition WE is running at the Seoul-based museum until 16 July, with the banana being regularly swapped out every two to three days.

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